Three hours before kickoff, Chestatee High senior Cole Schrader received the news of his grandfather's death.
He went home, talked with his family, then decided there was nothing his grandfather would want more than for him to continue on with his life and play in Tuesday's soccer game against Lumpkin County.
Playing with a heavy heart and added motivation, Schrader scored two goals to help lead the War Eagles to a 6-0 win at War Eagle Stadium.
"Just the lord above gave me strength," said Schrader, whose name on the roster was originally crossed out because his status was uncertain. "I was playing for (my grandfather). He always wanted me to play and never wanted me to miss a game or practice.
"He knew I loved the game."
Schrader, who dedicated the game to his grandfather, said he just wanted to "come out and have fun," and now has "something to play for beside myself."
His teammates followed his lead.
Chestatee (9-5, 5-3 Area 8-AAA) scored just three minutes into the game on a goal by Ruben Gijon, and scored again two minutes later on Schrader's first goal. Schrader's goal was set up by a perfectly played through ball by Edgar Guerrero that left him with just the goalie to beat.
The two players weren't finished.
Guerrero connected with Schrader seven minutes later, only this time Schrader had to make a couple moves around two defenders before he fired a hard shot past the goalie.
"Our guys were focused," Chestatee coach Michael Herrin said. "They knew what they needed to do."
The War Eagles played that way in large part due to a heartbreaking 2-1 loss to North Hall on Friday that snapped their three-game win streak. It also cost them an area win, which they made sure wouldn't happen Tuesday.
In the 25th minute, Diego Sanchez turned on a cross from John Hatch for Chestatee's fourth goal of the half. Two minutes later, Roldan Reyes assisted on another goal by Sanchez that gave Chestatee a commanding 5-0 lead.
"We had to stay with the other teams in region," Sanchez said. "We're going to have to fight for the playoffs."
Sanchez said the loss to North Hall helped fuel the team's desire to win, and that the biggest difference between Tuesday's win and Friday's loss was "connecting on shots."
The senior understated Chestatee's ability to make shots considering it made six of the 13 shots on goal in the first half. The sixth goal of the half was scored by Leo Molina, who received a long pass from Hatch for an easy goal.
"We scouted these guys, and I guess we caught them before they woke up," Herrin said of the Indians (5-7, 2-6).
Lumpkin County finally got a scoring chance with 2:50 left to play in the half, but Jordan Pardue's shot hit the crossbar and landed just outside the goal. The Indians nearly scored late in the game when Luiz Hernandez snuck a shot behind a diving Jose Vega, but Hatch got to the ball before it went in and cleared it out of bounds.
"We needed to have a good showing," Sanchez said.
Chestatee looks to win its fifth game in six tries when it hosts Monroe Area at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Lumpkin County hosts Oconee County at 8 p.m. Friday.
CHESTATEE GIRLS 3, LUMPKIN COUNTY 0: Jessie Stephens and Morgan Dooley each scored unassisted goals in the first half to lead the Lady War Eagles to a shutout Tuesday at
War Eagle Stadium.
Alexis Rebollar, the team's leading scorer, notched her 23rd goal of the season in the second half for Chestatee, which outshot Lumpkin County 21-1. The Lady War Eagles (10-3, 5-3) host Monroe Area at 5:30 p.m. Friday. Lumpkin County hosts Oconee County at 6 p.m. Friday.